UFC Fight Night 40: Soa “The Hulk” Palelei (-255) vs Ruan “Fangzz” Potts (+235)

Ruan-Potts-CameraUFC Fight Night 40 Date: May 10, 2014 Arena: US Bank Arena City: Cincinnati, OH Heavyweight bout: Soa “The Hulk” Palelei (-255) vs Ruan “Fangzz” Potts (+235) Fight Breakdown: The UFC Fight Night 40 main card will feature a heavyweight contest between New Zealand’s Soa “The Hulk” Palelei and South Africa’s Ruan “Fangzz” Potts, who gets set to make his promotional debut. Palelei is the favorite in this scrap at -255 ($255 to win $100), with Potts being the underdog at +220 ($100 to win $235) at 5Dimes Sportsbooks. Soa “The Hulk” Palelei (20-3 MMA, 2-1 UFC) is set to make his fourth appearance inside the Octagon, following a first round knockout over Pat Barry in front of an Australian crowd back in December. He is a decent striker with solid boxing skills who throws beautiful jumping jabs and hooks that stagger his opponents. For this bout, he has been sharpening up his stand-up in Thailand, so I expect his Muay Thai to be on point. I am expecting some heavy leg kicks from him, and believe that will be a major part of his game on the feet. The 36-year old has average takedowns but his ground and pound is vicious and he can be a real threat from top position, as was evident in his last outing against the former K-1 kickboxer in Barry. He is talented on the mat and has a great submission game, owning a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. When in top position on the mat, not only do opponents have to worry about his submission game, but also the heavy leather he rains down in true “Hulk” fashion. All 10 of the wins on his current 10-fight winning streak have come by way of TKO/KO, and eight of them in the very first round of action. An American Top Team product who put time in Thailand to sharpen up his striking, I expect Palelei’s striking to look better in this fight, though I do question his cardio, considering how awful it was in his promotional return. However, it is worth noting that he broke a rib in the first round, which could be the sole result of that. Ruan “Fangzz” Potts (8-1 MMA, 0-0 UFC) is set to make his UFC debut while riding a three-fight winning streak. The lone blemish on his professional mixed martial arts resume came against Andrew van Zyl. A couple of fights later, Potts found himself facing van Zyl once more, and in the rematch submitted him with an armbar at only 44 seconds into the very first round. He is quick for a heavyweight, especially in grappling exchanges. He has great strength and solid judo skills. The South African works excellent takedowns and has a great ground game. He is talented in the submission game, both offensively and defensively, so he is never afraid to find himself on his back. When in top position on the mat, “Fangzz” is dangerous both with his submissions and his ground and pound. He does not have good footwork on the feet, as he is flat-footed, though he does work his hands and elbows pretty well, and has a nice kicking game. He especially has a nice high kick, which could put out just about anyone in the heavyweight division, should it connect on the button. Potts has a good chin, as well as good striking defense. He has decent conditioning for a heavyweight, and a lot of heart, so I expect him to be good for a full 15 minutes of action, should the fight go the distance. Fight Prediction: I think this fight is a lot closer than the odds indicate, and I actually give a slight lean to Potts. He will be at a technical striking disadvantage, but I think he will find success with turning it into a brawl and mixing in takedowns, ultimately taking a decision on the judges’ scorecards, if not earning a finish, be it T/KO or submission. Gabe’s Call: “Fangzz” by Split Decision (28-29, 29-28, 29-28) Gabe’s Recommended Play: Ruan Potts (+235) 2.15u to win 5.05u

Written by Gabe Killian

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